Talking to Young Adults About Substance Use and Abuse
Young adults (between the ages of 18-25 years) are experiencing new-found freedom. Many are off to college and others are entering the workforce, traveling, or living on their own. Along with this new stage of life and transition from teen to adulthood comes new social influences. And while young adults may not be living under your roof any longer, as parents, guardians, or another influential adult, discussing the risks of substance use and abuse, including binge drinking, is important.
Tips for Starting the Conversation
- For a young adult leaving for college, talk about the availability of substances such as alcohol, opioid pills, or other drugs. Binge drinking in college is a big problem, so broach this subject and discuss the risks vs. consequences.
- Help your young adult understand how to remove themselves from a sticky situation involving drugs or alcohol. Whether it’s at a college party or cocktails after work, provide tools they can use to avoid troublesome situations or to stand up to peer pressure.
- Sometimes your young adult will need you to listen to them rather than talk. Hear what they are saying and keep lines of communication open.
Following are several resources for talking to a young adult about substance use:
- School and campus health - https://www.samhsa.gov/school-campus-health
- Parent toolkit - https://www.parenttoolkit.com/social-and-emotional-development/conversation-starter/responsible-decision-making/5-ways-to-talk-with-young-adults-about-alcohol-and-drugs
- Partnership for drug-free kids - https://drugfree.org/article/start-talking/
- College drinking - https://www.collegedrinkingprevention.gov/parentsandstudents/parents/default.aspx